Kansas school spending study finds $717 million in potential savings

From the Kansas Policy Institute.

A new study on K-12 spending in Kansas concludes that schools statewide are spending as much as $717 million more than is necessary, and that implementing the “best practices” of more efficient districts could eliminate the need to raise taxes or cut spending on other essential services.

Volume 3: Analysis of K-12 Spending in Kansas of KPI’s series “A Kansas Primer on Education Funding” also finds that, despite district claims that they are underfunded, most districts haven’t spent all of the money they received in past years. A preliminary version of this study was released in January based on 2007-08 spending; the study has been updated with newly-released data from the 2008-09 school year.

The ability to spend significantly less money, which supports the findings of studies by the Kansas Division of Legislative Post Audit, and the fact that schools have dramatically increased their cash reserves strongly refutes the validity of asking suing the state for higher funding.

Volume 3 is published by Kansas Policy Institute and written by KPI president Dave Trabert. Volumes 1 and 2 of “A Kansas Primer on Education Funding” were published in 2009, chronicling the history of education funding from statehood and providing ground-breaking analysis of Montoy vs. State of Kansas, respectively.

The full analysis of K-12 spending and previous volumes are available for individual download at www.KansasPolicy.org. Printed copies of each study are available upon request.


5 thoughts on “Kansas school spending study finds $717 million in potential savings”

  1. It’s time to ask every TV news & print news in the state to do a detailed report on why it is that these 308 school boards have yet to find a single one of the 2,948 administrative positions that can be eliminated (or any of the other 27,189 non-teacher/ counselor positions)– and why it is they continue to advertise non-teacher job openings on their websites when they supposedly are out of money.

  2. Scott,
    I know that at least some USD259 administrative positions are going unfilled, although I don’t know for how long. I also know that funding of our schools is very convoluted. Some of the support positions you speak of are funded with money that’s separate from the funds that pay teachers. If you’re speaking of aide positions, some are funded with Title I money, which comes from the feds and not the state. I do know, too, that money for busing (2.5 miles from school) comes from separate state funds… as in if the district doesn’t use the money for busing, they just don’ t get it. I believe we could make funding of our schools far more transparent if we would consolidate some of the sources of funding, but I’m guessing there would be many objections to that. Those in the system often complain about unfunded mandates, but for some reason, never seem to fight them. I keep waiting for states to sue the feds for encroaching on education–a clearly, constitutionally reserved responsibility of the states–but it never happens. Of course, that’s because the unions wanted the federal government’s hands in public ed. (Thank you ESEA and Jimmy Carter!)

  3. Let us not forget that by consolidating school districts, we deal a blow to liberty. Just as the state’s ability to determine educational policy has been usurped by the federal government, consolidation takes away a town or areas ability to determine educational policy and gives it to individuals located even further away… This is a careful line to walk.

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